DEME has been awarded a major contract in Latin America for the deepening and maintenance dredging of the Canal Martín García, located between Uruguay and Argentina in the northern part of the 50 km wide Rio de la Plata estuary. The 5-year contract carries a total value for the 50/50 joint venture with Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. of approximately EUR 110 million and signing is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
The Canal Martín García, highly exposed to sedimentation, is the main access channel to Uruguay’s second largest port, Nueva Palmira, as well as to the Rio Uruguay. The main objective of the dredging program is to deepen the canal and subsequently maintain a depth of 34 feet over the contract period. The works will be followed by a 4 year maintenance dredging scheme to maintain the 34 feet depth.
Climate drivers such as El Niño have an impact on the volume of sediments settling in the Rio de la Plata and the Canal Martín García. This complex natural phenomenon requires careful engineering and planning to guarantee a safe passage to vessels at all times. The total volume to be dredged depends on the yearly volume of sediments in the channel. Several trailing suction hopper dredgers and a backhoe dredger will be deployed on the project.
Deepening and maintenance of the Canal Martín García is of major importance to the regional and international economic development by providing a better and safer access to the upstream ports on Rio Uruguay and Paraná and lowering the logistics costs for the import and export of goods and commodities. DEME participated in the construction of the Canal Martín García in the early nineties.
Dredging activities are planned to start in March 2018.